Are todayâ??s clients more difficult to please than those from 20 years ago?Â Depends on who you ask.
Ask anyone coming here from another continent about what strikes them first about the U.S. and size will be one of the first things they mention.
Size? The size, the number of choices we have in American stores is often a surprise, if not shocking, to visitors from other countries – regardless of market.
The number of choices available when buying even mundane items is very different than it was even a decade ago.
Were there hundreds of different brands of soft drinks in 1980 or 1990?
It isnâ??t just soda.
You can buy a different salad dressing, pasta or barbeque sauce every day for a month if you looked around. If you really pushed yourself, you could stretch that out several months â?? and weâ??re just talking about the major food manufacturers.
It isnâ??t just groceries though. The number of choices you have at the bank, car dealer and every place else is growing.
Why? People just donâ??t tolerate having to settle for less than exactly what they wanted when it comes to the selection of products. They want exactly what they want, and theyâ??ll be able to tell you why.
Your challenge is to look hard at the choices you offer to your clients.
- Do they move your business closer to achieving its goals?
- Do they move your clients closer to achieving their goals?
Itâ??s hard to think about the 617 different barbeque sauces that you might try (even if you skip Daveâ??s Insanity) as achieving someoneâ??s barbeque goals.
But they do.
The reason they do is that if you ask 100 people to describe their favorite barbeque sauce, theyâ??ll all say roughly the same things, collectively.
We like our sauce (choose one or more): Smoky.Â Sweet.Â Spicy.
If you lay out 20 barbeque sauces and ask 100 people to taste them and choose one, you wonâ??t see only three choices getting made as the favorite. Tastes just donâ??t fit the bell curve these days. 20 years ago, you might have had five choices and one or two winners.
Today, you might see 10 or 12 favorites rise above the pack.
Individualized tastes donâ??t just end at barbeque sauce or salad dressing. They extend to legal services, software, website design and a slew of other products and services.
Papa Bear and Momma Bear know that Baby Bear want his porridge juuuust right, and they feel the same way about their towels, sleeping bag, pickup truck and lunch meat.
They want choice and they aren’t willing to settle.
To thrive in this environment, itâ??s essential to examine where you specialize on a regular basis. Specializing means providing better, perhaps more, choices for products and services.
It means providing specific solutions to specific problems that might not have existed a few months ago, much less a few days ago (fuel prices, anyone?)
Few businesses, for that matter, few markets face exactly the same challenges they did three years ago.
Choice means eliminating your clientsâ?? need to settle for less than they expected. Your challenge is to get out of that “Weâ??ve always done it that way” mindset and find what they are settling for.
And then fix it, not only in the products and services themselves, but in the way you deliver them.